Nutrition & Health   > Soya "Cow" to Benefilt Hospital and Heart Patients


A gift to India from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine


New Delhi -- It doesn't moo, but the "cow" that is now housed at Adhyatma Sadhana Kendra, a leading yoga institute, does provide milk -- soya "milk", that is. The soya-making machine was a gift to the institute from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an American-based group of medical doctors and others who promote sound nutrition. Dr. S.C. Manchanda, head of Cardiology Unit of All India Institute Of Medical Science (AIIMS), India's premiere medical hospital, unveiled the new soya cow, distributed soya milk and explained why soya beats dairy milk for people.


"Soya milk is superior to cow's milk," said Dr. Manchanda. "It's a heart healthy drink without saturated fat and cholesterol of dairy."


Soya products have actually been shown to benefit people suffering from heart disease, an increasing health concern in India. The World Health Organization predicts that deaths caused by heart disease will double in India by 2015. Research attributes this expected rise to India's increased consumption of dairy and meat and adoption of a high-fat "cheeseburger" lifestyle.


The soya cow's products, including soya milk, tofu (soya paneer), soya shakes will be given to heart patients and others who are undergoing training and therapy and the yoga institute, as well as to patients and staff and AIIMS. Both institutions believe that soya milk promotes good health, while dairy products are linked to deadly disease, including heart disease and cancer.


Scientific research shows they are right to be concerned. Since the 1980's, study after study has linked dairy consumption to a high incidence of breast and other cancers. The American Dietetic Association, for example, reports that breast cancer is most prevalent in countries where women consume high-fat, animal-based diets. In east Asia, where milk consumption is extremely rare, breast cancer is almost unheard of. International renowned nutrition expert Dr. T. Colin Campbell points to China, a basically non-milk-drinking country, where cancer deaths among women aged 35 to 64 averaged less than 9 per 100,000, as opposed to 44 per 100,000 in the U.S.


Medical studies, including the Harvard Nurses Study, which has monitored the health of 75,000 milk and non-milk drinking women over the course of a decade, show that dairy products may actually contribute to osteoporosis and bone breaks. The study found that is because the calcium in milk, which is difficult for the body to absorb, actually leaches calcium from the body. Soya milk on the other hand has a very high absorption.


Men, too, are at risk. Results of the landmark Physicians' Health Study of 20,885 doctors showed that men who consumed at least 2-1/2 servings of dairy foods daily were about 30 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who averaged less than half a serving per day. The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found that men who consumed high amounts of dairy products had a 70 percent increased risk of prostate cancer. British researchers have found that men who eat a diet without dairy products and meat have lower levels of a certain protein associated with prostate cancer. The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, found that levels of IGF-1 - an insulin-like growth factor believed to play a key role in causing prostate cancer - were 9 percent lower in vegans than in nonvegans.


Milk and cheese are also laden with saturated fat, the worst kind you can get. Physicians now warn that dairy products also lead to allergies, "tummy trouble" such as stomach cramps, bloating and discomfort caused by lactose intolerance. A recent study by Dr. Minocha, the Chief of Gastroenterology at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, found that 70% of south Indians are lactose intolerant.


Milk and cheese can be particularly bad for pregnant women, nursing mothers and children as dairy products frequently contain cow's blood and pus and are contaminated with pesticides, hormones and antibiotics. In children, cow's milk is linked to insulin-dependent Type I (juvenile) diabetes. According to a report published last year in the American Journal of Nutrition, a study of children in 40 countries found that the incidence of juvenile diabetes was directly related to diet: The higher the consumption of cow's milk and other animal products, the greater the chance of developing diabetes. Conversely, children who consumed a largely vegetarian diet had a much lower incidence of diabetes.


Dairy products can wreak havoc with children's health in other ways. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology names cow's milk as the number one-cause of food allergies in kids. Susceptible children suffer from chronic runny noses, sore throats, sinus and ear infections, skin problems, chronic coughs, asthma and other conditions.


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